Kind of neat yesterday to surf Penguin Canada’s website and discover that The Beggar’s Opera is now on it (and yes, for those of you have asked, you can pre-order a copy here, but you won’t get it until February). And it appears that February 7, not the 12th, will be the launch date.
I was kind of surprised by the change in font colour as I thought we’d settled on the black font that you see below, but I’m told that booksellers didn’t like the black font and they’re pretty important in this process. What do you think of the colour change?
I also finished the author’s review of the galley proofs yesterday. Even after all our careful copy edits, I still found a few typos and formatting errors — for example, a paragraph indent had disappeared and an editorial break (that’s the space between scenes, usually signifying a pause of some sort) had also vanished.
Italicization also seemed to be a problem: sometimes it popped up where it wasn’t supposed to be and sometimes it was missing altogether. There were also a few spots where I made changes because of last minute edits that caused repetitions.
A book is like a tightly woven of piece of fabric, and sometimes one small change can cause something else to unravel. This was a good chance to take a second (okay, fifth) look at some of the recent changes and see whether they worked or not. Not all of them did. All of which is to say that you really do need to look through those galleys carefully.
Meanwhile, my pal Allan Guthrie, the great Scottish Noir author and literary agent extraordinaire, was kind enough to plug The Beggar’s Opera in his online interview with Richard Godwin. You have to scroll through the comments to find the reference but being called “fabulous” and having Allan describe The Beggar’s Opera as the finest book he’d read at the time was pretty darn exciting.
If you like Quentin Tarantino movies, you’ll love Allan’s stuff. It’s bloody and cheeky (bloody cheeky in fact) but unforgettable, and he writes in beautiful clean, crisp prose. My favourite of his many characters is Pearce, who may be a sociopath surrounded by psychopaths, but loves his mom and his dog, which completely redeems him.
Stephen Hunter does the same thing in his books. He creates a violent loner who keeps getting drawn into disputes that don’t concern him (so does Jack Reacher in Lee Child’s many books, come to think of it).
But in Hunter’s Dirty White Boys, it’s when his beagle is killed by the bad guys that he goes after them. And like Pearce with his three-legged dog, Hilda, named for his mom, it’s the mental image of the tough guy with a soft spot that makes these characters real.
Anyway, a big “shout out” to Al for promoting my book back in June, completely unbeknownst to me until yesterday. I know it’s something that Ian Rankin did for Allan when he was an aspiring author, so what goes around comes around. Thanks again, Al. Much appreciated.